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J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2012 Jul;65(7):e169-74. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2011.11.012. Epub 2011 Dec 3.

Modification of flap design for total mobile tongue reconstruction using a sensitive antero-lateral thigh flap.

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Division of Plastic Surgery, Institut Gustave Roussy, 114 rue Edouard Vaillant, 94800 Villejuif, France.


Reconstruction of large carcinologic tongue defect is mandatory to recover adequate speech and swallowing. Free flaps provide thin and pliable tissues needed to restore the shape and the volume of the tongue but their functional outcomes, especially in case of total mobile tongue reconstruction, are still limited. The authors describe a modification of flap design called the 'cathedral triptych' used with the antero-lateral thigh flap. This modified design recreates a near normal neotongue shape with more projected tip and vertical bulk that can contact the palate and the upper lip. Ten patients underwent total mobile tongue reconstruction with a sensitive antero-lateral thigh flap and a 'cathedral triptych' design. This modification of flap shaping and folding optimises postoperative oral function.

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